I haven’t ever seen anything like it.
I know that’s what you’d expect me to say. I know that’s what everyone says, but it genuinely is true.
Just after 9.55pm on Sunday evening, the world held its breath and waited for the gun to sound to start the Olympic 100m final.
The noise in the stadium was recorded at over 100 decibels. That is pretty much the same as a trans-Atlantic flight taking off at Heathrow.... and I was sat 20 yards from the runway.
I’d love to tell you it was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard, but I honestly can’t. I didn’t hear a thing. It was like a film, when the soundtrack just drops out. I was just in my own head, acutely aware of how I was in the very moment that my career would peak, determined to take in every detail, every smell, every sound, every sight. Time stood still as I drank it all in.
Not for very long though. The race began and then it was over. Just like that.
It was only when I watched it back on my phone – I took a video of the moment for posterity you understand, because nobody is ever going to believe half the things I tell them about these Games – that it actually started to sink in.
I was cursing the work iPhone for messing up the video. It wasn’t playing properly, the runners were all in fast forward. They looked jerky and fake. Oh. It was.... real.
The third watch was the one that did it. Oh my God. I have actually never seen anything like it. I have nothing in my life to compare it too. I can safely say it was the most incredible men’s 100m Olympic Final I have ever witnessed, or am likely to. It was an absolute privilege to be present at the absolute pinnacle of sport, and it was fitting that Usain Bolt was able to produce a performance which fit the magnificence of these Games so far.
All this drama followed on about an hour and a half after the drama of Adam Gemili’s semi-final.
I will put this plainly. Adam was 0.04secs away from earning one of the eight places in the greatest 100m final field ever assembled in the history of athletics.
If I’d said that to you on June 1st, you’d have said: “Adam who?” To be honest if I’d said that to him he’d have probably cracked that wonderful grin and been humble and said: “Psssh, nah, that would be a dream.”
Well dreams do come true. In truth, I think he was good enough for that final. Already. He would have been in the bottom half of the field, let’s be honest, but you just don’t know what that occasion could have brought out of him. I have absolute ZERO doubt that he would have run his fastest ever time. You just get that feeling from him. He rises to the occasion. And that was a pretty big occasion.
He might be a nice boy and polite and charming and just great to talk to, but I could SEE afterwards just how annoyed he was that he didn’t slip through the semis. Make no mistake, he is driven, ambitious and determined.
I can’t wait for Rio, even if I’ll have to go as a punter and pay my own way this time! :(
Monday morning in the stadium there was a definite stillness. Like the hush after the echo of the previous night finally disappears. To be fair it was only nine hours later.
However the cobwebs were well and truly blown away when Lisa Dobriskey was introduced to the crowd before her 1,500m heat.
What a reception she received. And how deserved it was. Lisa is undeniably one of the most popular athletes in Britain and the crowd were genuinely thrilled for her as she powered through the field in the final lap like the Dobriskey of old to claim first place.
It tells you all you need to know about Lisa that SHE asked ME how I was, during the interview after her race, and her motivation for running was not for fame, or endorsements or sponsorship or money or anything other than.... making her nine-year-old nephew Joshua proud of her.
Her injury and illness problems are well documented, but it would just be such a fairytale ending to a nightmare year if she could win an Olympic medal and banish the memory of fourth-place in Beijing four years ago. Nobody deserves it more.
After the athletics session finished I had a decision to make. It’s not one I’ll really ever get to make again. Which amazing session of Olympic sport should I attend during a Kent-free afternoon? Handball, basketball, waterpolo, or cycling?
I chose the track cycling at the Velodrome. And I think I chose well. I experienced the best atmosphere I had at any of the Games venues – perhaps bar Saturday night in the OS – and saw Jason Kenny tie-up the gold medal in the men’s sprint and Laura Trott battle through the opening rounds of the Omnium which she would go on to win.
I then hot-footed it back to the Stadium to see if Dai Greene could add Olympic gold to his World Championship one. He couldn’t. It was a pretty disappointing night for GB unfortunately. But I managed to catch the last train home, which was significant progress based on previous nights and meant I didn't have to sleep in a chair.